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Florida East Coast King Mackerel Fisheries Closing

US - NOAA Fisheries Service will close the Florida east coastsubzone to commercial fishing for king mackereleffective 12:01 a.m. (local time) March 14, 2012.

The commercial quota of 1,040,625 pounds for this zone will be reached by this date. The closed subzone is from the Flagler/Volusia County line to the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line in Florida. Florida is expected to close adjoining state waters at the same time.

From November 1 through March 31, king mackerel from the east coast subzone are considered Gulf group fish. Beginning April 1, king mackerel from waters off the east coast of Florida, including all of Monroe County, are considered to be Atlantic group fish. Therefore, commercial fishing for king mackerel will be allowed again in this area beginning April 1, 2012.

During the closure, no commercial fisherman may fish for or keep king mackerel in or from the closed subzone. There is an exception for people aboard a vessel that has a charter/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish and a commercial king mackerel permit. Those people may keep the 2-fish per person daily king mackerel bag limit from the closed subzone, if the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat when they carry a passenger who pays a fee or when more than three people are aboard, including operator and crew.

During the closure, no king mackerel caught in the closed subzone may be bought, sold, or traded. This includes recreational and tournament-caught fish. King mackerel that were traded or sold before the closure and held in cold storage by a dealer or processor may still be sold.

Lucy Towers

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